June 21 2018 – the solstice

This year, the June solstice will fall on 21 June.  In the northern hemisphere, it is the day when there is the most daylight and when the Sun is at its highest in the midday sky.   Sunrise at the solstice at Stonehenge, England - image from Wikimedia commons The origin of the word solstice is… Continue reading June 21 2018 – the solstice

20 March 2018 – the equinox

Now that we are in the month of March, it is only a short time until 21 March, the first day of spring (or first day of autumn if you're one of my readers in the southern hemisphere). There is a commonly held view that 21 March is an equinox and that the equinoxes are the two… Continue reading 20 March 2018 – the equinox

The darker mornings

As I complete this post from my home in Manchester, England, it is 4:30 pm and already fairly dark outside. Many people think that it will continue to get dark earlier each day in the afternoon until we reach 21 December, the winter solstice. This, however, is not the case. The evenings in fact start to draw out… Continue reading The darker mornings

The equinox March 20 2017

Now that we are in the month of March, for most of us in the northern hemisphere the worst of the winter is over, and it is only a few days until 21 March, the first day of spring.   There is a commonly held view that March 21 is the spring equinox and that the equinoxes are the two… Continue reading The equinox March 20 2017

Christmas Day – December 25th or January 7th?

Merry Christmas to all my readers and followers and I wish you all a happy New Year. The majority of people who celebrate Christmas Day, whether for religious or cultural reasons or both, do so on 25 December.  However, followers of the Orthodox churches generally celebrate Christmas Day thirteen days later, on January 7. The reasons… Continue reading Christmas Day – December 25th or January 7th?

December 31 2016 Leap Second

On New Year's Eve an extra second will be added to the end of the day. This extra second is called a leap second. As I'll explain later, leap seconds need to be added periodically to bring the time we measure with accurate atomic clocks in line with the natural time which results from the rotation of the… Continue reading December 31 2016 Leap Second

The long summer evenings

This post talks about two interesting effects to do with the way it get dark after the Sun has set.  The first one, which anyone who has travelled to places lying at different latitudes will have seen, is that the closer you are to the equator the quicker it gets dark after the Sun has… Continue reading The long summer evenings